By Ian Sherr
PALO ALTO, California (AFP) â€” Two US men on Friday claimed to have found the body of “Bigfoot,” the legendary ape-like creature that has been the subject of decades of hoaxes and dubious sightings.
Matthew Whitton and Rick Dyer claimed before a crowd of sceptical reporters that they were hiking in a northern part of the US state of Georgia in June when they stumbled upon a body near water.
“I recognized it was unusual right away,” Whitton told the press conference in Palo Alto. “The first thing that pops into your head is that it’s Bigfoot.”
The body was said to be seven-feet, seven-inches tall and weigh more than 500 pounds. The men claimed to have stored the body in a freezer.
Photos of the “corpse” were posted at www.searchingforbigfoot.com. Advertising on the Web page Friday offered Bigfoot T-shirts and films.
Reports of Whitton and Dyer’s “find” appeared across national print and US media on Friday, with many experts suspicious of the men’s claims.
Jeffrey Meldrum, a prominent Bigfoot expert and professor of anatomy and anthropology at Idaho State University told Scientific American.com he doubted the find was legitimate.
“I’m extremely skeptical about this bigfoot claim,” he said. “What I’ve seen so far is not compelling in the least, and I think the pictures cast grave doubts on their claim. It just looks like a costume with some fake guts thrown on top for effect.”
Bigfoot, also referred to as “Sasquatch,” tells of a gargantuan, elusive furred creature that walks upright and lives in remote forests in the Pacific Northwest of the United States and Canada.
Georgia is in the country’s south.
Many scientists believe Bigfoot is folklore instead of fact.
Biscardi says he has been tracking Bigfoot since 1971 and speaks of his efforts on an internet radio show.
(By Ian Sherr. Published Aug 15, 2008, on the wire with the Agence France-Presse, here. Photos published with the San Francisco Chronicle, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and CNN .)